This adventure takes place several months after the end of World War II.
Indiana Jones paused before the doorway taking one last moment to check his gear. He felt nervous. It had seemed like a good idea at the time but now felt he would rather open the Arc of the Covenant again than open this door.
He had to admit to himself it felt good to be wearing his 'uniform' again. Although he hadn't been on a field trip for a number of years now he kept himself in shape. Still, there had been a great sense of relief when his fedora fit snugly on his head, his brown leather jacket slipped over his shoulders and, thankfully, his pants fastened without having to suck in the gut!
Then there were the essential accessories. There were numerous small pouches and pockets all over his person. These he filled with powders, small tools and tiny vials filled with different coloured liquids. Each item he knew from personal experience had numerous uses, from cleaning up artefacts to saving his life.
For the larger problems he inevitably encountered in his line of work there was his trusty bullwhip which dangled loosely over his right hip, while on his left hung a holstered Webley MK VI pistol.
Even with these comfort factors he still questioned why he had agreed to do this. Pressing close to the wooden panel he listened closely. There was no sound. Somehow this made him feel worse. Taking one last deep breath to steady himself he gently pushed. The door swung silently open. After a brief pause, he stepped inside.
At first there was silence. Indy walked cautiously to the centre of the room.
"Oh sir, you look so….different! It's weird!"
The outburst had come from Jackie Philips, one of his students. The comment brought the rest of his class out of their stunned silence.
"Sir is that a gun?" said one.
"Wow a whip, what do you use that for?" asked another.
This was followed by a chorus of questions, comments and even a couple of wolf whistles. Indy smiled nervously. He tried to answer their questions, get them to calm down but they were on a roll, too young, too eager to stop.
Suddenly he stood up tall, not realising until now he had been slouching, his shoulders hunched down, his whole demeanour and body language had been none threatening. It was, he realised, how he held himself when he was the teacher Here and now however in these clothes he wasn't a college professor, he was Indiana Jones the world renowned, respected and in some quarters feared archaeologist!
His had whisked down to his belt. Lifting his bullwhip loose he flipped it back behind him. There wasn't much room but he'd been used to performing this manoeuvre in much tighter quarters. In a blink of an eye his lashed his arm forward, the whip straight and true. It travelled at tremendous speed, reaching the end of its length in less than a second with a loud crack as it hit a wooden sign hanging on the wall which read, "Serpent Mound Visitors Centre." The sign shattered on impact sending the class back into a stunned silence.
Indy dragged his whip back towards him, looping it around his wrist as he did so.
"Sorry about that. I…err…I only meant to knock it off the wall." Indy said to the Janitor which had let them in. The Janitor gulped. "We…we needed a new sign anyway!"
The Janitor picked up the pieces of the sign, glancing at Indy nervously as he did so.
"Add it to the tab will you?"
"Yeah yeah, sure!" said the Janitor over his shoulder as he briskly left the room. It seemed he was in a hurry to get somewhere.
"That…was so cool!" gasped Jeff Cohen.
Jeff was one of Indy's chubbier students (some of the students called him chunk) but he had a good heart and a passion for archaeology. All the students here had a passion for archaeology otherwise they wouldn't have been here. The war had had an impact on everyone's pockets so there wasn't much in the academic fund for field trips. This was the only one planned for this year. Anyone who wanted to come had to pay half towards their fees so it was no surprise that only eight out of his class could afford the trip.
Indy was keen to get the next generation of archaeologist interested in field study. That was why he'd agreed to lead this field trip and that was why he'd reluctantly agreed to show them, after a lot of badgering, the clothes and gear he usually equips when he goes out into the field. He felt overdressed for this trip though, he was used to more exotic locations than Ohio; another downside to a restrictive budget.
"Now that I have your undivided attention, can anyone tell me the first rule of going out into the field?"
"P. P. P…Preparation!" shouted Dean Sutter.
This brought a brief burst of giggles from the rest of the class. Unfortunately Dean Sutter had a speech impediment. The students here were better with him than most but with a surname that rhymed with stutter this provided far too much ammo for students just itching to pick on the guy who's different.
"And what is the first rule of preparing for a field trip?"
"Research sir!" replied Dawn Saunders with a husky voice.
Indy suspected Dawn had a crush on him. It was a situation he had faced many times in the past and although he still felt flattered, he was now getting to be of an age were he felt more uncomfortable than ever before dealing with a college student's admiring glances.
"Precisely, so what is Serpent Mound?"
Jeff's hand shot up. Indy motioned for him to speak.
Standing up, Jeff cleared his throat. "Serpent Mound is the largest serpent effigy known to this day. It stretches a quarter of a mile long, averages three feet in height and is in the shape of an uncoiling serpent. The mound was built on top of a remarkably unique cryptoexplosive structure that has caused the effigy to become misshapen through the years."
Jeff sat down beaming, pleased with himself.
"And who built the mound?"
This time it was Dawn who volunteered.
"The Adena Culture sir."
Dawn's face crumpled. Indy hadn't meant to be so short, but the sooner she realised he was only her teacher the better.
"We have evidence the Adena culture lived here yes, but there is also evidence of other Native American inhabitants. These include the Hopewell Culture the Fort Ancient culture and even legends of a previously undocumented race known as the Allegewi People."
Indy moved over to an overhead picture of Serpent Mound which hung on the wall. The mound itself was an artificial hill built with mud and rock then covered in grass.
At its base the mound had been shaped to appear like a triple coiled tail of a snake. For the next 700 feet the body of the snake wound back and forth until it reached the head, which was stretched out in a gentle curve, ending with open jaws around the east end of a lengthwise one hundred twenty foot hollow oval feature. It looked like the snake was devouring a giant egg!
"We never assume anything," Indy continued. "In archeology we gather evidence and publish theories, nothing more.
Indy pointed to the picture. "The head of the snake is aligned to the summer solstice sunset…"
"Which is today sir!" interrupted Jeff
"Which is today," continued Indy without turning away from the picture. "And the coils here align with the winter solstice sunrise. Although Serpent Mound is now a tourist attraction we have been given permission by this Historical Society of Ohio to spend the day excavating this site."
Indy silently thanked Marcus Brody for using his influence to help him arrange this trip. Not only had they been given free reign of this site for the day but he'd even arranged for trenches to be dug at the head and the tail ends of the site so the students wouldn't have to waste most of the day just digging.
Indy turned to face his students, placing both hands on his hips. "Ninety five percent of archaeology involves getting down on your hands and knees in dust and mud. Using brushes and tiny tools a patient archaeologist brings history back out into the sunlight one spec at a time. That's what we'll be doing today. I'll be splitting you up into two teams. One will excavate the tail and, the other the head. Any questions?"
Jeff hand shot up again.
Indy sighed. "Yes Jeff?"
"Sir, if that's all there is to field work then why do you carry a gun and a whip?"
"Because the other five percent of archaeology is really, really dangerous." Indy paced the room as he spoke.
"The rarest of antiquities the holiest of relics; these can only be found hidden in the deepest jungles, the darkest caves and the highest mountains. You'll not only have to be careful to avoid causing trouble with the local tribes but you'll be up against others in search of such objects; others who are motivated by greed or power and won't hesitate to kill anyone who gets in their way."
The class were mesmerized by Indy's words. While Indy described dangers beyond belief they could only see glory and adventure.
"Even after you've dealt with all these dangers, the artefact in question will usually be held deep inside some sort of complex filled with deadly…"
"Booby traps?" blurted out Jonothan Quan.
Jonothan was fascinated with Ancient Egyptian Pyramids, in particular the complicated booby traps the Egyptians invented to protect the treasure buried with their King's sarcophagus.
Jonothan always reminded Indy so much of his old side kick he couldn't help but laugh at his comment; it was exactly the sort of thing Short Round would have said.
"Yeah kid, booby traps."